January 24, 1973

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

LIB

Mitchell William Sharp (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. Mitchell Sharp (Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, last night President Nixon said that a cease-fire in Viet Nam has been agreed upon. The government is profoundly relieved at this historic news and profoundly grateful for it, as I am sure are all members of the House and all the Canadian people. At long last, it seems, agreement has been reached to stop the fighting in Viet Nam. The way to peace will then lie open. All Canadians will welcome this.

It is now necessary to decide what contribution Canada can make to ensure that peace does indeed come to Viet Nam. What is now in our interests to do, and what can we do effectively? These are the questions we face.

Canada, in our view, will also wish to help in the immense task of relief and reconstruction in Viet Nam. The government has already announced its willingness to do so. The destruction in both North and South Viet Nam is immense. Canada has some experience in providing aid to South Viet Nam but none, of course, in North Viet Nam. The government does not yet know what may be asked of us nor how a larger Canadian program may relate to the efforts of other countries and international organizations. We will have to find the answers to these questions as quickly as Viet Nam returns to conditions in which aid can be effective. As always, we will offer to do what we are best able to do. We will be willing to help in this task anywhere in Viet Nam where we are welcome and where we can be useful.

On November 2 last year, when it seemed a cease-fire agreement was near, the government made a proposal. That proposal was intended to meet the apparent concern of the parties that there should be some form of international presence immediately on the ground from the time of the cease-fire. The proposal was that, for the initial period, Canada would be prepared to place at the disposal of the new international supervisory body the Canadian delegation to the existing international commission, the ICC, as it is commonly called, augmented as necessary.

Our concern was to enable the initial cease-fire arrangements to proceed without delay if the parties so wished. That is very much the problem now.

The government subsequently stated publicly the conditions and considerations on which it would require assurances before it could take a decision on more complete participation in a new commission. It told the parties what these conditions were.

We have only just received the documents which embody the agreement between the United States and North Viet Nam. There has been no time yet to study them carefully, as they will have to be studied. A first look suggests that the conditions and considerations which we communicated to the parties have to some degree contributed to the terms which have been agreed on for the establishment of a new commission.

These are complicated and important documents. It will not be possible to say how far they meet our conditions until they are carefully studied. We already know that an immediate answer to that question will not be possible, if only because we are dealing with documents which have so far been initialed by only two parties. They will not be signed by all four parties until Saturday of this week, only hours before the agreement envisages an international presence on the ground.

In short the situation is this: the government is faced with a choice. It can accept, with whatever reservations are necessary, the role the parties have defined. We are capable of doing so. But this would mean committing Canada to full participation before we knew with any certainty to what extent Canada's conditions are met. At the other extreme, we could refuse to participate because we do not yet know to what degree those conditions are met. But to do this would risk our standing in the way of an end to the fighting, which all Canadians ardently desire to see ended.

The government has concluded that both these extremes are unacceptable. It has therefore decided that when the documents have been accepted by all four parties, and when all four parties have clearly invited Canada to take part, the government will then confirm that Canada is ready to take part initially. This initial participation will be consistent with the position announced on November 2 last.

Canada will be prepared to serve on this limited basis for an initial period of 60 days. Canada will be prepared, during that period, to do what it can to discharge the obligations which would flow from full membership in the new commission. A full and formal reply to the invitation for full membership, however, will have to await a number of things: first, it will have to await a very thorough study and analysis of all the agreements and of the full nature of the parties' commitment to the agreements. It will also have to await the lessons of our experience of participation in the initial stages. It is no secret to anyone

January 24, 1973

Viet Nam

that we have serious doubts about what we are being asked to undertake. Our more formal decision will have to await our judgment of the degree to which our doubts turn out to be justified in practice. We will form that judgment in the initial period of participation, and our full reply to the invitation will be given, with whatever reservations we may find necessary, before the end of that 60-day period.

Meanwhile, let there be no misunderstanding about what Canada will be doing in Viet Nam. We will not be there to keep the peace ourselves; that is for the parties to the cease-fire. What we can do is observe how the parties are fulfilling their obligations under the cease-fire, and report upon this. From time to time, we may be able to help them through mediation. But it is not up to us whether or not there will be peace in Viet Nam. If the parties fulfil their obligations, there can be peace; if they do not, then nothing Canada or any other country on the commission can do will prevent the cease-fire from being broken.

The government will want these interim conclusions to be discussed in parliament. It will introduce a resolution to provide a basis for this debate. Meanwhile, it will provide the cease-fire documents to all parties in the House as quickly as it can. When everyone has had a reasonable opportunity to consider these texts, a time for debate will be fixed by agreement of the House leaders. For its part, the government would be ready to have this debate take place some time next week.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Viet Nam have endured beyond measure a tragedy of indescribable proportions. Every Canadian prays that the cease-fire will lead to a lasting peace. We can do nothing less than seek some means of contributing effectively to such a peace and to the reconstruction of that suffering region.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
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PC

Claude Wagner

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Claude Wagner (Saint-Hyacinthe):

Mr. Speaker, to the remarks just made by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Sharp) I want to add that we all heartily welcome the announcement of peace in Viet Nam. This is a great day for humanity as a whole. Statements made from Washington and Hanoi meet the aspirations of all inhabitants of our planet and also of Canadians who, like their brethren throughout the world, now have greater faith than ever in negotiation as the real means of settling conflicts.

We hope and believe, Mr. Speaker, that the agreement reached yesterday in Paris will bring to Viet Nam a durable peace extending to all Southeast Asia and that the agreement will contribute to the future of peace throughout the world.

Such objectives incite us, as Canadians, to co-operate with other nations in ensuring that the agreement is carried out and in building up peace in Viet Nam and Indochina. This last concern must make us accept Canada's participation to the international conference which, under the very terms of the cease-fire agreement, must be held within the next 30 days. We would then sit with China, France, the Soviet Union and Great Britain.

Before agreeing to any participation by Canada in an international body in order to see that the peace agreement is observed, we have the responsibility to make sure

about the nature and effectiveness of the role which would be ours.

We have a particular responsibility to assume toward all our fellow Canadians, our soldiers, our peace officers, all other countries and, precisely, toward our eventual partners.

Our responsibility in the highly humanitarian task of building a lasting peace urges us, with regard to our participation in the peace control commission, to act with due reflection. We ponder over the pertinent points. It behoves the present government to enlighten the Canadian parliament, the Canadian people, even before a decision is taken. That is why, Mr. Speaker, I welcome with enthusiasm the suggestion of the Secretary of State for External Affairs that a debate be held in this House. In anticipation of this debate, I should like to mention a few questions on which the Secretary of State could reflect and to which he could perhaps give us an answer.

It seems to me that the government has had ample time to consider all the implications of the situation. For months now, the Department of External affairs has endeavoured to anticipate the problems involved in our eventual role in Viet Nam. We therefore ask the Secretary of State for External Affairs when and how the last consultations were held with the Canadian ambassador in Paris and in Washington. To what extent did the political authorities of South Viet Nam participate in the Kissing-er-Le Due Tho agreement, notably with regard to the presence of North Viet Namese troops in South Viet Namese territory?

Does the Secretary of State know that the Paris agreement deals essentially with Viet Nam and little or not at all with Cambodia and Laos? Could he, in his statement, comment on the attitude of the government in this regard?

Could the minister inform the House and the Canadian people about the conditions of Canada's participation in the peace control operations in Vietnam, when and how, on each occasion, have those conditions been expressed and to what parties to the conflict? To this day, which party has accepted or refused the conditions put forward by Canada? In each case, what were those conditions?

More specifically still, to this day what position was taken by the outside organization to whom report is to be made? Will this organization be able to intervene in case of disputes?

What is exactly the clause of free access to every part of Viet Nam? Can this free access be extended to Cambodia and Laos?

Where does the present government stand as to the duration of a mission in Viet Nam?

Could the Department of External Affairs be getting ready to accept a provisional mandate as to the nature and duration of this mission so that it could later decide to continue or to withdraw?

Which countries will pay the costs of peacekeeping operations? Have representations been made to date in this respect? How many Canadians will be involved in the force?

January 24, 1973

Is the government aware that Canadian missionaries or others are held prisoners in Viet Nam, Cambodia or Laos? What has the government done in this respect, and what does it intend to do in the near future? If necessary, has Canada contacted Indonesia, Hungary or Poland or will it do so?

These are questions that arose in our minds and also in the minds of a good many Canadians.

We are willing to fulfil our international role and participate in the peace effort, but we want to accomplish our noble duties with the considered responsibility of an autonomous country, knowing why and to what we are committing ourselves.

We do not want Canada to go once more through what it has experienced on the International Control Commission since 1954 or what it has experienced in Cyprus.

The reputation and image of Canada abroad require an enlightened and utterly lucid decision.

While we rejoice in the achievement of a cease-fire members of the House will note that we feel it necessary to raise several questions as to the terms that would govern Canadian participation in any peacekeeping effort in Indochina. Our party takes the position that not only should Canada be prepared to co-operate with the international community in helping to secure a peace but that we owe it to ourselves and to our brethren across the globe to ensure that our participation be effective and sufficiently potent to guarantee some measure of success. There can be little doubt of our country's direct responsibility to participate in any peacekeeping effort. There can be less doubt about our right as a nation to insist on firm and clearcut conditions to our participation.

Essential to our effective participation is a clearcut position on the part of the minister that this parliament and the people of Canada be taken into the government's confidence with regard to the exact way in which our forces might participate. There is no room for anything aside from an open and honest discussion as to the best way for Canadians to discharge their international responsibilities.

It is clear to me, Mr. Speaker, that we have an opportunity to once again activate the middle power role in world affairs authored by the Hon. Howard Green-

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
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PC

Claude Wagner

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Wagner:

-and so brilliantly put to work by the late Right Hon. Lester Pearson.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
Permalink
PC

Thomas Miller Bell (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bell:

You laughed too soon.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
Permalink
PC

Claude Wagner

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Wagner:

We must avoid the pious platitudes and naive hopes that can characterize, all too often, the international efforts that never fully succeed. Our posture must be clearcut and direct. We will have a job to do. We are prepared to do our job. We demand the right to ensure that we can do the job properly. I know that the minister

Viet Nam

shares with all members of the House the desire for effective participation and successful organization of our peacekeeping effort. I urge him to deal with strength and wisdom in determining the conditions under which Canada will lend its helping hand. In this way members of all parties in the House can join in endorsing and supporting a very necessary and significant gesture on the part of our nation in the interest of a better and more peaceful world for us all.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
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NDP

Francis Andrew Brewin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Andrew Brewin (Greenwood):

Mr. Speaker, the conscience of the whole world has been deeply troubled by the long war in Viet Nam. The whole world can breathe a sigh of relief because this long, bloody, brutal and tragic war is now apparently about to be ended. We are concerned with Canada's contribution to ensure that the peace there is a lasting peace. We can say proudly that Canada has always been ready to make a contribution to assist the world through providing peacekeeping forces and through its efforts in respect of reconstruction in parts of the world devastated by war.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
Permalink
NDP

Francis Andrew Brewin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brewin:

Therefore we welcome the statement the minister has made. We have been good members of the world community. Although there have been many, many difficulties and many, many doubts, we cannot turn down now the opportunity presented to us to contribute to the maintenance of a stable peace in war-torn Viet Nam.

I am glad, however, that the minister has made it clear that he will look very cautiously into the documents, the conditions and the terms in respect of our contribution. I am glad we are to go there as observers only. I know that the parties there, certainly those with whom I have been in touch recently in North Viet Nam, do not want a military force. What they want is observers to ensure that the peace will be kept but not to make peace themselves nor to intervene in any military sense of the word.

I am more than happy to see that Canada proposes to participate in the reconstruction of both North and South Viet Nam. They have been sorely ravaged in one of the most brutal wars in our history. We should do our part in an effort to build up this wounded country.

The minister mentioned one condition which we think is of the utmost importance. It is absolutely vital that there should be an international authority to whom the members of the commission may report. We suggest that the best possible authority in this regard should be the United Nations or its Security Council.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
Permalink
NDP

Francis Andrew Brewin

New Democratic Party

Mr. Brewin:

I am pleased to see the minister applaud because I really believe the United Nations exists for the purpose of being able to aid in situations like this. It is the expression of the world's conscience, and unless we can build the United Nations we will never have an effective world community.

We in this party are quite determined that no Canadian force should go overseas in any capacity whatever without the approval of this parliament. As I understand the minister's proposal, it is that the matter will be discussed

January 24, 1973

Viet Nam

in parliament before that happens. We think parliament is the authority that should determine this matter.

There are one or two other matters I should like to mention, although I realize this is an occasion for a brief rather than a long statement. I agree with what the minister said, that no arrangement, no international machinery, can work without the good will of the people concerned, without the good will of the parties themselves in Viet Nam. As some hon. members know, I recently had the opportunity of talking to government officials in North Viet Nam and I must say I was impressed with the sincerity of their desire to maintain peace and to maintain their belief in the unity of Viet Nam as a country. Their aim remains the reunification of that country. They now say- and I hope and believe they mean what they say-that this will be achieved by a process of national reconciliation, not by force of arms. If that is the attitude of both parties, then let us hope that once foreign troops are removed from the area the Vietnamese themselves will settle their own problems. I believe I can say that the situation will be approached by one side at least with an attitude of good will and a determination to make that aim succeed.

There was some reference in the settlement, and rightly so, to the return of United States prisoners of war in North Viet Nam. We rejoice that they will be allowed to go home quickly. But this reminds us that in addition there are prisoners in South Viet Nam. I am informed that nearly 300,000 persons, mostly political prisoners, are in the jails of South Viet Nam. The solution to that problem must be part of the solution that is sought in this international reconciliation.

Many of us in this House have for many years had a feeling of agony and unhappiness about Viet Nam. We earnestly pray that a new chapter is opening, and we hope that Canada will be able to play a constructive part in that new chapter of history.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
Permalink
SC

Gérard Laprise

Social Credit

Mr. Gerard Laprise (Abitibi):

Mr. Speaker, in his statement the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Sharp) has nearly promised us a much more important debate for next week after studying the whole text of the agreement just concluded and giving us copies of it. For these reasons, I do not intend to unduly prolong the time allotted to statements today.

However, my colleagues from the Social Credit Party, all other hon. members and myself were very pleased last night to hear the President of the United States proclaim the end of this war which has been lasting for nearly 30 years now.

The Secretary of State for External Affairs has inquired about our contribution when the interested parties will not only ask us to oversee the cease-fire but also and especially to establish peace. In brief, what the parties have requested and what American President Nixon refused was not only the end of the war but mainly the assurance of a durable peace and that this assurance be an example for peace throughout the world.

I have noted that in his statement last night Mr. Nixon used the words "peace with honour" at least six times.

Depending on how they are interpreted the problem is not only to save the American honour but rather to gain the honour of a true peace by ending this war. The Secretary of State for External Affairs does not know exactly what will be the Canadian participation following this war, but it seems however that some decisions have been taken for some time because almost 450 military personnel have already been vaccinated and prepared to be sent to Viet Nam following the signature of this agreement. Therefore, this means that certain conversations have already taken place between Canada and the American government. Since this war has lasted so long I think it should be possible for the present generation to love peace as it has not known anything else but a climate of war.

Of course, many thing have to be rebuilt; surely there are many wounded to cure and readapt. In addition to the 450 troops which Canada can dispatch, it would be desirable to mobilize some doctors and nurses to assist the Vietnamese people in recovering from this war.

Mr. Speaker, when we will know more about the complete text of the agreement which will be signed by the parties concerned, then we will be in a better position to give our opinion, to support, to advise the hon. Secretary of State for External Affairs on Canada's participation. I think there should be participation even if it is only a humanitarian participation.

Perhaps indirectly, Canada benefited from that war but I think we should help bring back peace to that important part of the world that is Viet Nam.

As the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe (Mr. Wagner) mentioned a while ago, there still remains the question of Laos and Cambodia. Not too long ago Prince Sihanouk made a rather disturbing statement. I think that those two countries very close to Viet Nam are very important and suffered the backlash of that war. I think we must also be concerned with finding out what they desire in the establishment of that peace and what they are prepared to do.

Everything considered, Mr. Speaker, I think that the next hours or the days to come will allow us to see to what extent each party is anxious to see a true peace in that part of the world.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   VIET NAM-STATEMENT ON CANADIAN POSITION RESPECTING PARTICIPATION IN SUPERVISORY COMMISSION FOLLOWING CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT
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HOUSING

LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of State for Urban Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. Ron Basford (Minister oi State for Urban Affairs):

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   HOUSING
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF COMMUNIQUE ISSUED FOLLOWING FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE
Permalink

AGRICULTURE

PC

Frank Oberle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. F. Oberle (Prince George-Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, I rise pursuant to Standing Order 43 on a matter of urgent and pressing necessity. In view of the adverse weather conditions which have ruined the grain and vegetable crops of thousands of farmers in the Peace River country of British Columbia and northern Alberta, in view of the inadequate government assistance they have been promised, and in view of the fact this disaster has become a matter of national concern, as indicated in the Globe and Mail this morning, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin):

That the government immediately take action to assist these and other farmers by ensuring a stable price for grain, compensation payments that reflect true loss, and a moratorium on capital credit payments and interest.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   CROP DAMAGE, NORTHERN ALBERTA AND BRITISH COLUMBIA-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION
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NONE

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

No affiliation

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member's motion is proposed under the terms of Standing Order 43 and requires unanimous consent. Is there unanimity?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   CROP DAMAGE, NORTHERN ALBERTA AND BRITISH COLUMBIA-REQUEST FOR UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO MOVE MOTION
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January 24, 1973